Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This just makes my blood boil

I guess it shouldn't anymore because I really believe that Brady/Giglio violations happen in just about every trial where there isn't open-file discovery. The latest is a pretty shocking violation in the Casey Anthony case, which (I believe) would have resulted in a new trial had she been convicted. From the NY Times:

Assertions by the prosecution that Casey Anthony conducted extensive computer searches on the word “chloroform” were based on inaccurate data, a software designer who testified at the trial said Monday.

The designer, John Bradley, said Ms. Anthony had visited what the prosecution said was a crucial Web site only once, not 84 times, as prosecutors had asserted. He came to that conclusion after redesigning his software, and immediately alerted prosecutors and the police about the mistake, he said.

The finding of 84 visits was used repeatedly during the trial to suggest that Ms. Anthony had planned to murder her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, who was found dead in 2008. Ms. Anthony, who could have faced the death penalty, was acquitted of the killing on July 5.

According to Mr. Bradley, chief software developer of CacheBack, used by the police to verify the computer searches, the term “chloroform” was searched once through Google. The Google search then led to a Web site, sci-spot.com, that was visited only once, Mr. Bradley added. The Web site offered information on the use of chloroform in the 1800s.


“I gave the police everything they needed to present a new report,” Mr. Bradley said. “I did the work myself and copied out the entire database in a spreadsheet to make sure there was no issue of accessibility to the data.”

Mr. Bradley, chief executive of Siquest, a Canadian company, said he even volunteered to fly to Orlando at his own expense to show them the findings.

Cheney Mason, one of Ms. Anthony’s defense lawyers, said it was “outrageous” that prosecutors withheld critical information on the “chloroform” searches.

“The prosecution is absolutely obligated to bring forth to the court any and all evidence that could be exculpatory,” Mr. Mason said. “If in fact this is true, and the prosecution concealed this new information, it is more than shame on them. It is outrageous.”

“This was a major part of their case,” Mr. Mason added.

In big trial after big trial there continues to be Brady violations. Imagine what happens on a daily basis in state and federal court where there isn't a great deal of scrutiny over what prosecutors do. There really needs to be open-file discovery and more needs to be done when prosecutors do not comply with their constitutional obligations.


Rumpole said...

Settle down. In Florida Appellate courts, on review in big publicity cases with a public outcry for conviction, the prosecutor's failure to turn over exculpatory evidence is what they call "harmless error".

Kissimmee Kid said...

They only get crazy when the TV lights turn on. In a trial that is not a TV show, the lawyers are honest.

Anonymous said...

I bet this issue wont make it onto HLN because it shows that mistakes can be made even in such a slam dunk case.

Anonymous said...

Unethical. slimmy prosecutorial practices that could have ended up convicting an innocent person - isn't that how Nancy Grace got her big break?

Anonymous said...


The shot at the Miami SAO is unfair. Yes, it happens, but that office has a very strong training regiment in place that favors disclosure of everything and anything...often time the problems arise when LEOs are dishonest with the ASAs.

I recall handling a sexual battery case against you years ago and receiving a call from a former boyfriend of the victim who claimed she was an unbalanced liar. You immediately received a call, then a letter with the information.

That is not some gold standard at the SAO, it is what we were trained to do, and was the norm.

Still love you anyway.


The Straw Buyer said...

9:25. The problem is rampant at the Miami sao, the Reno era dinosaurs are the worst.

Anonymous said...

Dude. There are like 2 left.

Anonymous said...

This disclosure is truly shocking. Thank god for the jury in this case all of whom should be given some sort of award for objectivity. The chloroform theory was preposterous as a simple google search for home made chloroform shows how dangerous the process is — and the jury clearly didn't believe Casey could manufacture it herself. The prosecution theory was a 'hail mary' theory that required some backup substance to the chloroform theory, so, 'voila,' 84 searches for chloroform were discovered!

The jury, as interviews show, (and correctly, I believe) leaned towards an accidental drowning death and a botched family coverup of that death. Our jury system worked as it should.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I haven't noticed any update in this story. In particular, the fact that the expert has backtracked on his prior statement. What gives?

Anonymous said...

5:08: The 'backtracking' was done by his attorney, who only toned down Bradley's statements that concealment of the real search count (of 1, not 84) was deliberate. Bradley still stands by his count of 1.

Remember how the credit rating companies that couldn't foresee our economic collapse, coincidentally, depended on the good graces of the very firms they were rating? And got it so wrong. Obviously, Bradley is facing the reality of a boycott of his company's services by prosecutors and he acted accordingly through his attorney.